Time was, when flagging companies wanted to appear hip they would give a mascot sunglasses and a skateboard. Well, it appears blockchain and cryptocurrency are the new sunglasses and skateboard. Following on the heels of Long Island Ice Tea Corp., which changed its name to Long Blockchain Corp. in December, Kodak announced Tuesday it would be creating its own cryptocurrency called KodakCoin, the Verge reports. According to CNBC, Kodak stock had more than tripled by Wednesday following the announcement of KodakCoin and the blockchain-powered KodakOne platform where photographers can trade in KodakCoin. By way of explanation for the soaring stock, CNN writer Seth Fiegerman on Twitter offered: "Because 2018."
Kodak is using blockchain—the technology behind bitcoin and other digital currencies—to create a digital ledger where photographers can "sell their work confidently on a secure blockchain platform," according to a press release. The Verge notes it's unclear why Kodak actually needs blockchain for this, though companies are starting to realize they can get a bump in their stock value by adding something about cryptocurrency to their names or business plans. Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke says "cryptocurrency" and "blockchain" aren't just "hot buzzwords" for Kodak but "the keys to solving what felt like an unsolvable problem." The market appears bullish on that, with Kodak stock prices increasing from $3.13 to $11. The former Long Island Ice Tea Corp. and biotech equipment company Bioptix—now Riot Blockchain—saw similar stock gains upon changing their names. (Read more Kodak stories.)